Why Did I Stay?

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Why did you stay?

I have no idea.

All I possess are tiny scraps,  embryos that might grow into possible half truths that will never tell the whole story.

As futile as the exercise might be, I still wrestle with the question every single day.

You Don’t Have Grounds

At first I stayed because I couldn’t catch him at anything.  I was told bullying wasn’t actual violence, threats weren’t actual abuse, raging fits were differences of expression. Scraps of paper with women’s names and numbers in his wallet were meaningless. Refusing to introduce me to his friends we met while out shopping only showed a lack of social graces on his part and revealed  much more about my suspicious nature. Old girlfriends calling the house meant nothing.  Everyone drunk dials occasionally. Oh! And you didn’t actually catch him with the porn, now did you?

In the prison of my narrow world, no proof meant no grounds for divorce.

Woman, Submit!

I stayed because those in my church  were quick to assign blame for marital problems on wives, not husbands. Took years to realize this wasn’t personal but a result of years of women-blaming going way back to Adam, Eve and one tricky reptile.

Blame the woman. She’s suppose to be the helpmeet so get busy with the helping already. Your man struggles with sin? Clearly a reflection of the many ways you failed him as a wife. Want to read more on this, head over to this site. (Just not after a big meal.)

Any Father is Better Than Divorce

Later on, I stayed for the children. The anti-husband told me on numerous occasions that no woman would ever take his kids away from him. He’d get full custody, he’d make my life a living hell, he’d turn them against me, I’d never see them again.  I believed him.

Perhaps it was arrogance, but I thought I could protect the children by staying right where I was— a living wall between them  and their father, even if it killed me.  I could punch his buttons just fine, thanks much, deflect his anger away from them and take the hit while they ran for their rooms. I figured, I’m plenty big, they’re little. I can take it, they can turn eighteen and get out of this hell hole.

He hadn’t crossed the line into physical abuse at that point (although the line was getting mighty soggy) and the children would get an earful of his twisted thinking during visitation. And who knew what he’d do without someone around to call the police?  The idea of the beast, alone with a pile of hurting pups who adored his every word at that point in their young lives scared the crap out of me.

The problem with that reasoning? By that time, I had no idea where the lines might be so how could I judge if he’d crossed one or not? When he screamed at our twelve year old daughter over how long it took to wash the dishes, grabbed her bodily and pinned her against the wall over his head, shaking her—that wasn’t physical abuse, was it? When he berated the kids for hours at a time before whipping them across the backside until they bruised—that was just discipline, right?

A woman who’s been emotionally and verbally battered for over a decade is punch drunk. Reasoning? What does that even mean? More like surviving, one crisis to the next, waiting for the another round to begin.

Saying I stayed for the kids sticks in *my* craw these days. Maybe it was the right thing to do. Maybe if I’d been a little braver, left a lot sooner,  maybe I would’ve met a kind man who modeled love for the children.

This is my biggest regret and on this particular topic, hindsight hasn’t  help one bit.

I Must be Crazy

The fault must lie within the one whining about the difficulty of her outwardly perfect  life. Hadn’t I been told time and time again how blessed I was to have such a perfect husband? Handsome and charming and such a godly man! After the thirty-second time some lady cries at your dining table, confessing her sin of envy over your perfect marriage you, start to think you must be nuts.

Later, the anti-husband learned a little trick called, Gaslighting. Look it up. This made the last five years particularly fun.

God Hates Divorce and He Doesn’t Like Me Much Either

Whatever reasons, large or small, there’s one I identified only recently. I stayed because I believed  its what God required.

As a Christian teenager, I prayed for a husband. Through various supernatural answers to prayer, I came to believe God gave me this man. So if you pray for a husband and God gives you a monster, what does that tell you? Well, if God is good, then I must be bad.

Maybe I didn’t start out with such twisted logic, but the verbal and emotional battery eventually had its way with my psyche.  I deserved this man, this marriage. I was unclean, shameful. I needed to be punished. This was the kind of husband I deserved.

So I stayed, thick or thin, bad or worse. He was my cross to bear. I would be transformed through suffering into the image of Jesus Christ.

Bunkum.

I was not bad or unclean or shameful. I was, however, quite broken.

When I prayed for a fish, my enemy was more than ready to slip in a scorpion and at the ripe old age of eighteen, I couldn’t  recognize a loaf of bread if Gabriel himself made delivery.  (Vague reference to Matthew 7:9-11)

But broken or not, I was also  forgiven and covered in the Blood of the Lamb. Those miraculous answers to prayer?  I believed I was flawed, I saw what I was looking for.  And the man in question was more than willing to manipulate my emotions any way possible to get what he wanted.

If I’d had any understanding of a loving, protective, merciful earthly father, I never would have fallen for the lie. My Father in heaven is a good, good God and He never intended for anyone to live in a daily hell of one tyrant’s rage and control.

So why did I stay?

Once I learned to truth, I didn’t.

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23 responses »

  1. I had to read this twice. When I finally started to open up and actually talk about what was going on in my life people were shocked. This has always been the follow up question. Lately my answer has been “because I love him” but, I have begun to wonder if that is really the reason or if I stay because I am too scared to be alone or because I left once before after our first child was born and I remember that pain (and the 14+ years of punishment) all too well. This is a hard question to answer when you are in the middle of it still trying to convince yourself that it is the right thing to do, that there is hope. I have begun to wonder if I truly know what love really feels like or if I am staying because I made a commitment. I so badly want to ask others what would they do, but, in a painful way I already know the answer.

    • Some days I wish I could just turn off that little recording in my psyche that keeps asking the question. Even now, knowing without doubt I did the right thing by leaving, I still second guess every decision made at every crossroad. Learning to be patient with myself, gently forgiving–that’s tough. But if I can be kind to others, why can’t I be kind to Broken Me from all those years ago?

      Now when people ask, why did you leave, I say, “you’re asking the wrong question. Ask me why I stayed.”

      If they ask, why did you stay, I say, “you’re asking the wrong question. Ask me why I left.”

      Because they always ask the wrong question first 🙂

  2. You stayed because you believe in marriage and family, because you love your children and because you love that undeserving man (or hostile child), because you are a decent, caring wife and mother which the underdeveloped husband did not see nor appreciate. You stayed because you were mature enough and willing to work hard to make the relationship succeed. But the other person was dragging and putting heavy obstacles to make it fail because of immaturity, because of extreme selfishness, because of twisted childhood because he did not love you he needed you and could not admit and hated his dependence on you. You did your best and it was not good enough for your ex-.
    There is honor in that. He killed the marriage. not you. Be kind to yourself. You deserve it.

  3. I know this is an old post but I like to re-read some of your writings sometimes. I like to stand in places where truth pours out freely, on subjects that most people will not publicly discuss.

    I stayed for all the reasons you wrote here. ALL of them. And I left not because I suddenly gained the strength to leave. 6 and 1/2 years into the marriage he decided that he was “done” with me. I was a constant disappointment since I could not meet his every need, demand, and fantasy. I could never be worthy of his love. So he found another.

    It was the best thing that ever happened to me. And I wonder if I had married one of these more controlling/stalker-ish abusers, if I would have simply hung on until we were all dead. I cannot count myself as brave for leaving – since I had no choice.

    And it bugs me. It bugs me that I wasn’t the one that left him first. That I struggled along, believing I was worthless and useless and unworthy of respect or love. I know I was getting to the end of my rope but… would it have been enough. ?

    THAT haunts me, a little.

    • If my mess of a husband-like-object had left me at 6 1/2 years, I would’ve been devastated. Totally, completely, utterly wasted. He’d dug big holes of rejection from the first and walking out would have been so much more than I could take. And while I use to wish he’d find someone else, I was demoralized to the point I didn’t think I could make a decision without his help.

      I remember feeling so lost, hurt and utterly miserable during those years and yet at the same time, thinking I couldn’t live without him. Looking back its amazing how double minded I was.

      You’re brave for facing the truth after he walked out and allowing yourself the grace to heal. You’re brave because you “like to stand in places where truth pours out freely.”You’re brave because you have not let a beast destroy you when he did his damnedest.

      Awesome, Katy 🙂

      • I love you Connie 🙂 God has given you a gift. I just spent the last 3 weeks helping another poor woman out of a violent marriage, and it just reinforced for me how precious we are to our Father.
        We are precious . I never understood what that really meant, before. xoxo

  4. Bless you, Ida Mae…you don’t know how much of myself I see in you! I know this is YOUR blog and hope you won’t mind my over-posting…I just need to share and hope you’ll see how much you’ve helped yet another woman. I don’t have a blog of my own, and this is healing to me.

    Some 30 years ago I, too, was a “broken” person, only 19, abuse (of all sorts) survivor, recovering from alcohol issues and a nervous breakdown, very new at Christianity. I met my “husband” at a Bible study. I know now how pitiful I must have come across, and he swooped right in to “rescue” me. What a knight in shining armor, I thought then. In retrospect, I know if he truly cared, he would have pointed me to the true Savior and Healer, not tried to play the role of God’s co-fixer and His mouthpiece. But I guess needy, vulnerable women are exactly what abusers are looking for.

    He told me he’d recently prayed that God would send him a wife, and there I was that night. I believed him. I hung on every word that fell from his lips. Looking back, it sickens me the way I was so weak that I’d let a man convince me that without him, I’d surely lose my footing and spiral down the path to eternal hell. I’m ashamed to say that I was so afraid of losing him, I even let him convince me to sleep with him one night. 😦 That was the nail in the coffin…over the next few days, he quoted one Bible verse after another to try to prove that in God’s eyes, we were now married. Fearful of God’s wrath and wanting to do the right thing, I married him for real shortly after. The rest has been a nightmare that I can’t seem to wake up from.

    Your words about the evil one sending you a serpent, struck a chord with me. I realize now we must use wisdom in our life decisions and not just take the first thing that comes along. I wish I’d known that 30+ years ago! (Sadly, he’s always made me feel like the serpent he got after asking for bread.)

    You’ve also blessed me by showing me that a woman can still be in perfectly good standing with the Lord, yet have a crummy marriage and even *gasp* leave. I have been so utterly brainwashed all these years, that I’ve always associated any disagreement with him, with my being out of favor with God. How he LOVED to quote Scripture! I was the contentious woman, the constantly dripping faucet. He’d been SO close to the Lord, till I came along. He even called me Satan at least once. I would retreat into anger, confusion, and hopelessness. What happened to the Jesus I’d once truly believed loved me so much, Who had pulled me from the rubble and given me a new life? I aligned Him with my husband…wasn’t it ME who was in sin, by not “submitting” as the Bible says I should?

    I grew to resent the God I believed had allowed me to fall for a dirty trick and then demanded that I pay for the rest of my earthly life. If being “right” with Him, meant I must subject myself to the putdowns, insults, and feelings of worthlessness on an almost daily basis, then I wanted nothing to do with Him. I backslid more than I went forward. I did some truly reprehensible things in desperation. I finally prayed in repentance several years ago, but it’s been such a struggle. It’s hard to convince yourself you’re in favor with God, when you’re forever being accused of being a liar, a gossip/ slanderer (for sharing what you feel is going on with others).

    But reading your blog, seeing how you are truly a woman of faith in love with the Lord, and not filled with guilt and fear of His displeasure for leaving, is an inspiration. Maybe there is light somewhere at the end of my tunnel, too. Thank you, friend!

  5. Bless you, honey! When I read your words, I see a snapshot of myself about a year before I left. It’s taken time to navigate this swamp but you, my friend, are well on the path!

    Someday, I hope to write about the miracle it took to leave– a genuine, Red Sea parting, Egyptians in the sea miracle. It’s been three and a half years and the spot where that memory sits is still painful to the touch. I’ve heard stories from other survivors as well of divine intervention on a big, big scale. Never doubt, we have an enemy and it is *not* the One who died to set us free.

    I am convinced that when we cry out for deliverance, the Lord Himself hears our desperation and He will move heaven and earth to set us free from the cruelty of these taskmasters who take the lambs into bondage. He delights in honoring His name and His character. It takes time because *we* must be set free from all the lies we hold so tightly so we can walk on across once He parts that sea.

    Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement! I’m so thankful that you are here and this mess of my past is helping!

    • Thank you!!! 🙂 See what they do to us, though…after I wrote this post I was filled with anxiety that you might think I was “talking too much” and not even post it…he tells me how peaceful the house is when I’m away, how he works so much just to get away from me…he makes me feel like I’m a noxious flea and he’s a poor dog, why won’t I just SHUT THE BLEEP UP AND GO AWAY. Thank you for your compassion and understanding and letting me share so freely on YOUR blog.

      Do you know what absolutely terrifies me the most about initiating a divorce? The fear of humiliation in court, of having him make me out to be a crazy woman. He has a habit of just walking into my bedroom, making some whacky accusation that he knows will push my buttons, and walking away. I haven’t yet learned to just smile back; being falsely accused has always been hard for me, and I foolishly will follow him right out and up to his room trying to vindicate himself in vain. Well, he told me the other day he has me recorded with his cellphone. 😦 He has ammunition, proof that I’m nuts, according to him. I have no recordings of him with his eyes bulging out of his head, nearly foaming at the mouth with rage, the filthy profanity-filled tirades, the nonsensical, baseless accusations. How can I ever prove what he did to me?

      After my past backsliding/our last split, which was actually 17 years ago, he gave me a dried flower arrangement with a card that read “I would do it all over again.” We reconciled, and I thought a miracle had taken place. Things seemed almost normal, and I had some hope. We even had another child (now 9)…I should have known something was amiss when all through my pregnancy he said things like, “We FINALLY started to get along, and now you’re pregnant!” Little by little, he went back to being nasty again. It wasn’t long before he started getting drunk and throwing my past back in my face. He can say THE ugliest things. I know it will all be brought up in court, no matter how much time elapses.

      For the past nearly 2 decades, I have had the same job, come directly home from work, tried to keep the house clean, attempted to do whatever I was supposed to do to be a righteous woman. I threw myself into being a mom to our little boy, and my evenings are spent with my son. I don’t go anywhere, except innocuous places like Walmart. I sleep here alone on a couch in my little bedroom, while he works third shift. God knows I’m chaste as a nun. Why must he torment me? He will come up to me and say, “Do you know someone named (insert a man’s name)? I had a dream and that name came to me.” The last one was Franz. I concluded that that one must have been in his subconscious, as he has empty boxes of Franzia wine all over his room.

      I wonder sometimes if he’s up to something bad himself, so he accuses me, instead. In the past, when we shared a computer, he indulged in internet porn. He told me how addicting it was, as though that made it somewhat less wrong. Who knows…:(

      I live in a no-fault state. I just wish I could go through with this without the fear of being dragged through the mud or even downright lied about. If only I could be convinced God was behind what I want to do, I could possibly muster up the courage. Bless you, friend, for letting me vent to you.

      • No, it’s really not my blog so much. I could just write stuff in my journal to vent. Putting it out here this way makes it public and, as we each add our collective stories, it becomes a community project.

        The only censoring I do is if an abuser tries to comment. Those get blocked so they can’t try again. This has to be a safe place or there’s just no point really.

        It’s a legitimate fear, especially with a young child and the specter of family court looming. That’s what abusers do– they try everything to shift the attention off their wickedness and blame others. Old trick and very effective. You sure get to see who your true friends are, that’s for sure. Some that I thought were my friends (and not his) actually sided with him. In doing so, they must believe the lies he told. Others came *running* to my side, people I never would have thought cared. The whole process was like the chaff and wheat and once the pain subsided, turned out to be one of the biggest blessings. I don’t need those false friends in my life.

        Now I laugh, long and loud without worrying about what others will think. I state my opinions in love and accept the opinions of others, even when I disagree, without fear I’ll be judged or censored. There is a terrific freedom that comes after that storm of hatred passes over.

        As for his cell phone recordings– you are being blackmailed. He has to goods on you (so to speak) to keep you in line and doing what he wants. But you know the truth. I recommend that you learn to laugh at his accusations.

        Own what you’ve done–scream and cry? “Dadgum right I did! Everyone’s got their limit and you crossed mine a decade ago.” “Funny how that recording starts right after *your* tirade– wonder who was operating the phone?”

        Please know I’m not trying to *should* you into doing anything you’re not ready to do! You’re in an impossible situation and holding up under unbearable pressure. Go ahead and vent all you want!

      • Oh, thank you, friend! I’m stuck at home after some surgery so I suspect I’ll be around quite a bit for the next week or so. I hope and pray you’re doing well in your journey. I’m still awestruck by your courage and honesty.

        Yes, I know all about blackmail…years ago, before our oldest son married, I sent a heart-to-heart e-mail to his bride’s mom (she’s a Christian, and we used to be close). I told her many of the things I told you, and expressed concern that I’d possibly harmed my son’s attitudes toward women by the things he went through growing up. It turns out, my worries were unfounded…he and his lovely wife have a beautiful marriage and adore each other. But, his father used the excuse that since I’d sent the e-mail from “his” computer, he had grounds to go into my account, read whatever he liked, and print it up. He has it to this day. If you read it, it says nothing bad…it’s simply personal and heart-baring, something I don’t want passed around. But, he has it stashed somewhere, and threatens to show my son from time to time…go figure.

        Yes, I need to laugh, you’re so right! I was the family scapegoat in my abusive family of origin, and was often (wrongly) accused and blamed for things…that could be where the defensiveness comes from. But with God’s grace, I’ll try to tell myself I know the truth, I know what I heard, I know what I haven’t done, and smile back.

        I’m taking my son to a counselor next week, and hoping I can be directed to some help for myself, as his current negative behaviors are undoubtedly related to what he’s going through at home. I guess it’s time to get “sneaky” and get some legal advice, too.

        It’s sort of like if you’re trapped in a burning building, and the only way to get free means you must swim through a cesspool, then so be it. But once you’re out, you get cleaned up, and you’re FREE! 🙂

      • You’re most welcome 🙂

        I’m doing well, thank you. The actual divorce process was gut-wrenching, terrifying and brought up a storm inside that just wouldn’t quit. It’s taken five months to come out of that and into a place of peace. While I know I had to go through those emotions, I just wasn’t expecting the backlash, not after three years away. No regrets, no second guessing–just reliving years of pain once again.

        You might consider telling your son about the letter. That way, you control the information– your words, your way, on your own terms. I’ve had to do my own version of this over and over but, I can tell you, it breaks the power of the threat hanging over your head. It’s what the FBI recommends in blackmail cases, btw–go public.

        My ex kept telling my kids, “I know things about your mother.” I had no idea what he was talking about. Honestly, I don’t think he had any idea how open I’ve been with my kids about my past failings, especially as they’ve gotten older. There’s simply nothing left to tell. He might spin it out worse than it was, make insinuations, embellish the facts, but he’s too late. I’ve already told them. No great detail, just the facts and the reasons behind them. If he says anything now, he’ll just look like a bigger jackass than usual.

        It’s sort of like if you’re trapped in a burning building, and the only way to get free means you must swim through a cesspool, then so be it. But once you’re out, you get cleaned up, and you’re FREE! 🙂

        Love this– well put and so very true!

      • 🙂 Oh, I already gave my son the head’s up years ago, as his dad was threatening me with it then, as well as saying he wouldn’t attend the wedding after I’d “slandered” him to his future DIL’s mom. It honestly wasn’t anything bad, as I said…there were just some concerns at the end that my son’s experiences had possibly harmed him. But, none of it came true, thank God…he loves his wife to pieces. He’s even told me they’ve learned from our mistakes and are actually grateful (he meant this sincerely). Once I texted him on a Friday night, and happened to ask where his wife was…he simply replied she was out, and that he doesn’t “control her.” That was music to my ears! She needn’t fear coming home to a TV smashed on the floor because she dared to visit with family instead of staying home with him.

        It IS all about control, isn’t it? I adopt domestic rats from rescues and shelters, so my son can have pets. His dad doesn’t like this. They get sick sometimes, like any other animal, or need to be put to sleep, so there are vet bills from time to time. I never hear the end of that. I even started working 2-3 extra hours a day since the little guy’s in school anyway, hoping to appease his dad with the extra income which goes way above and beyond any extravagances I indulge in.

        He didn’t like that, either. He told me to quit. I said no. He claimed it was cause he felt badly about me being outside in the cold (I fuel school buses where I work), even though I’ve never complained; in fact, the exercise helped me to lose 15 pounds. Then he complained I was “never home.” Actually, the time I’m gone coincides with the time HE comes home from work, which spares me from running into him…another plus! Then, he said I only like doing it because I like getting compliments from management and my co workers on how fast I work. Really? I’m the sort of person who gets embarrassed by compliments. I even slowed down when I was teased that I should make a work out video.

        His reasoning just made no sense…I thought it was a win-win thing…we don’t bump into each other in the morning and fight now, I’m losing weight (he’s always reminded me how I needed to), and there’s this extra money…what’s the problem? Then I figured it out…he wants to have control right down to whether or not I keep my pets, just like he must have the final word on everything else in my life. By the way, I called my vet yesterday, to ask exactly how much I’d actually been spending there. They gave me a total amount for the past 15 years, which included expenses for 2 late cats…it averaged out less than a dollar a day. He spends twice that much on his coffee. I’ve earned enough extra in the past 6 months, to more than cover 15 years of vet bills, but he’s still not happy, go figure. :/

        So glad you were upfront with your kids. That always helps. And they saw what was going on, and undoubtedly knew the truth, anyway. If you don’t mind sharing, did he hire a creepy lawyer for himself and say nasty things about you? I know that must have been painful. I’m so happy you’re moving on and healing…to be honest, I found your blog some time last year and when I saw you’d disappeared, feared the worst. Bless you again for letting others share here. I hope that helps with your recovery to, knowing how much God is using something bad, for His ultimate good. 🙂

      • Not directly. His lawyer just insinuated things- I was a lazy housewife who laid around on the sofa all day for thirty years forcing my poor husband to work himself half to death. Then I’d just up and ran away, running up the credit cards and spending all his hard earned money for two full years and refusing to even go to counseling. My lawyer backed him down with the rest of the story his lawyer hadn’t heard — like the CPS investigation (surprise!), the years of abuse backed up by our counselor who was more than willing to go on the record, and my mother’s death under questionable circumstances. After that, he was relatively quiet for some odd reason.

        Funny how the ex never mentioned any of that. . .

        🙂

      • Good morning, Ida Mae…hope you’re continuing to do well. 🙂

        I was mulling things over today, as usual, and was wondering about your take on this. You mentioned once that abusers know exactly what they’re doing, but, do you think some of them also have a touch of mental illness or whatever, that causes them to misinterpret things?

        I had my surgery almost 2 weeks ago, and have been off my feet as much as possible. I told myself I would not be a demanding whiny complainer, no matter what. He was nice enough to take one day off from work, the day of my op (actually he had no choice, as the hospital wouldn’t let me drive myself home). The next 2 days, Sat and Sun, were his regular days off, but he deliberately went in anyway, even though this meant our 9-year-old would be glued to his computer and pretty much ignored the whole time.

        He also took 3 days off from work this week, because he wanted to help one of our older sons fix his kitchen floor. He’s been dropping the little guy off at school, then leaving for the day. But, I gripe NOT, as usual.

        Anyway, my foot keeps swelling up under the bandage, which is painful, and the over-the-counter meds I have weren’t doing much. Yesterday, I made the mistake of calling him at our son’s, and ever-so-politely asking IF (and only if) he was done for the day after 4 o’ clock, would he please maybe be so kind as to zip me to the doctor (who’s right here in town), to have my bandage re-done? He’d taken “his” car, the automatic, leaving me with my stick shift which I’m not allowed to drive per doctor’s orders, due to the clutch pedal; otherwise, I would drive myself.

        He could have simply said, sorry, no, I really need to get this done. But instead, he launched into a rant (in front of our son) about how I kept making demands on him, that he was SO stressed out, that he simply CAN’T be expected to do all these things for me, on and on and ON. I was so embarrassed. I texted my son right after and explained what had really happened, I didn’t want HIM thinking I was a demanding *****, too.

        In the meantime, he’s really concerned that I will need to take more than the minimal time off from work, thus no paycheck for another week. ?? Someone told me the other day, he’s my pimp. And yesterday I thought, yep…isn’t that like a pimp, pushing “his” woman to get her butt back out there and earn some money for him…that’s all she’s good for, right? 😦

        Why do they react like this? Everyone else I know, tells me I am “soft-spoken.” . I’m about as demanding as a manikin. I didn’t call him up squawking and screaming for him to get back home and wait on me, darnnit. What makes him see a polite request, as other than it is?

        Easter Sunday, he kept trying to “justify” going over to his sister’s for dinner…”I want to spend some time with my parents.” “I’ll only stay an hour or so…” Say what? I’ve been telling him ever since he got the invite, please GO, spend some time with your family, stay as long as you like! Honest! Why does he treat me like I’m such a nagging you-know-what? 😦

        (As it turns out, he was home before 4 yesterday anyway, so yes, he COULD have taken me to the doctor, after all. I wound up just taking half my bandage off…it was easier…sigh…)

      • No, I do not think this is mental illness. It sounds like selfishness. He doesn’t want to be inconvenienced for anyone. He wants his own way. He wants to do what he wants to do, when he wants, where he wants and he enjoys punishing those around him with his words and actions for his childish, peevish feelings. If it wasn’t this, it would be something else.

        The guy is a jackass. Nothing mental about that.

        My assistant here at work tells me sometimes that I’m easier to get along with than anyone she knows. Not that I’m a saint or anything, but my personality has always tended toward compliance. I like to see others happy and enjoying themselves and I want to please others. Abusers are drawn to those kind of personalities because they can get away with so much without being called for their crap. Anyone else would walk away long ago and they know it. My ex actually had to nerve to say that all our troubles were really my fault *because* I was so easy to get along with (this after thirty years of saying the exact opposite–that I was a raging b*^&%# who made him walk around on eggshells.) He said if I’d stood up to him years ago, he would have stopped and none of this would’ve happened.

        Really? I told him to shut up (a first but everyone has their breaking point.)

      • Wow, thanks, wasn’t expecting such a quick reply! You’re right, but, it just hurts to have evil ascribed to me when it’s unwarranted (I don’t want him with his family, I have boyfriends whom God keeps trying to reveal to him via dreams of men’s names, etc.)

        I was voted “quietest girl” in my rather large graduating high school class (I was later told the “award” was dropped so as not to embarrass me…I was that timid.) I have no history ever of making waves with my co-workers, am super-compliant, told to speak up because my voice is so soft, am actually just a real smile smile smile person all around. (He, on the other hand, has a long history of disputes with people he works with, all of it because he’s trying to “right something wrong,” of course.) How ever do I morph into the green-eyed monster he claims I am? See how their crazy-making distorts our self-image?

        I’m not happy to see that you’ve gone through so much of the same, but, it does validate my own experience so much. I’m so happy you’re past that now. Thank you!

  6. Oh, my pet rat Walter died the other day 😦 He kept saying he’d bury him, but kept “forgetting.” My room was starting to smell. Finally, my kindly aunt (who is known for never taking garbage from anyone, especially a man), came to pick Walter up for me…and he accused me of bawling to my aunt about how he’d refused to help…I’d done no such thing. Why couldn’t I just have accepted my due punishment and slept 6 feet from a decaying animal? Hadn’t he ordered me not to adopt any more pets? Sigh…

    I forgot to say, good for you for telling him to shut up 🙂

  7. Hi, I’ve been reading your posts, and seeing my story all over them. How I found these while trying to find information, which is still alluding me, about what to do about one’s children believing their father because he was so clever with the abuse (doing it behind closed doors, excusing and justifying, making me look crazy – um, I kind of was after a time). I was married for 25 years and ended up in the psych ward where my doctor told me he wasn’t letting me out until I’d made arrangements to separate or I’d be right back in. I was then single for 8 years and now have been remarried for 9. All this time I’ve said very little to the children or others about my relationship to their dad because it becomes a he said/she said thing and why not believe the one who appears so charming and together, right?
    So about 3 years ago a daughter started a relationship that scared the family some, and the dad called me and said I’d better talk to him (I’d made a policy of just communicating by email). I foolishly agreed and he immediately started telling me what he thought and demanding that I do exactly as he said (I didn’t at all agree with his plan, which of course was forcing his grown daughter to do what he said), so I told him to contact me by email only and hung up. Soon a scathing email went through the family, from a son who berated me up and down for ‘not talking’ to dad, etc. etc. etc. and how prideful I was and that was the whole problem all along………
    My question is, is this normal and is there any teaching anywhere on what to do about this? Or is it best to do nothing, keep praying? Or is that just another version of what we all did for all the years of our sick marriages? I feel like some of the children (they’re all grown) treat me with distant politeness, some sort of get it, but try to ‘understand’ ‘both sides of the story’ to ‘keep a good relationship with both’. I get that and I don’t want to put the dad in a bad light……….yet I want truth……I guess I hate being wrongfully in a bad light, if you know what I mean.
    It hurts.

    • Hi Sunflower,

      I’m so sorry I missed your comment! Not sure how it got lost. I hope things are better now? If not perhaps we can visit via email and I can help you find some resources.

      Just a quick note before I run off to work– what you mention is *so* common. Hopefully, I can write more on children soon.

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